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Local Government free to have own buying

Media Statement 2 April 2003


Local Government free to have own buying

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton today refuted claims by Green MP Mike Ward about local government and the General Agreement on Trade in Services.

Mr Sutton said it was clear Mr Ward had not bothered to read the Government's press statement on our initial offer or the GATS text for that matter.

"As I said yesterday, we have made no initial offer that affects the rights of local governments to regulate in a manner that they see fit.

"The GATS agreement clearly states that laws, regulations and other requirements addressing government procurement of services are specifically excluded from the provisions of the GATS. That has been the case since the agreement's inception in 1994, and nothing has changed."

To suggest otherwise is simply designed to create unnecessary anxiety amongst local authorities.

"I suggest that local government representatives and officials ignore Mr Ward and continue the fine work that they are doing to support their local businesses."

ENDS


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